Classroom Activity- Emotion of the Day
On the Emotions Color Wheel, the emotional types are grouped by color (“happy” = green). In terms of range, mild emotions are on the outer perimeter of the circle; the most extreme emotions are found in the circle’s core.
Materials to have on hand when you start:
Goal: To help students accurately label their own emotions and the emotions of others by:
- Defining and describing synonym(s) of target word.
- Describing situations where emotion is appropriately experienced.
- Labeling and displaying emotion in modeling scenarios.
Things to consider before you begin: Select target emotion word based on a pre-determined pace, scope, and sequence.
Use the Emotions Word Bank sheet and Emotions Color Wheel as you answer these questions:
- Pace: How often should I introduce a new emotion word? How often will I revisit targeted words to promote maintenance?
- Scope: How many words will I target? Are there certain terms I should avoid based on student ability level?
- Sequence: Will I target words within a certain emotional range (i.e. mild to extreme) or within a certain type (i.e. “happy” emotions) first?
How to use:
- Teach definition of and synonyms for target emotion:
Distribute Emotions Worksheet to each student. Present emotion word and definition. As a class, generate synonyms of target word. Direct students to record the most accurate synonyms on Emotions Worksheet.
- Describe circumstances under which emotion is usually experienced:
As a class, explore the general triggers (events, people, places, or activities) that cause most people to feel that emotion. After general discussion has taken place, students should record individualized responses in block on Emotions Worksheet.
- Demonstrate what the emotion looks like using facial expressions, tone, and body language:
The instructor(s) should demo numerous representations of the same emotion. Use additional adults or peer models if available. Describe specific indicators of emotion as you demo it.
- “I am leaning back, my arms are resting on the desk, my body is still…I am calm.”
- “I am leaning forward, my hands are clenched, my eyes are closed tight….I am anxious.”
As students display increased independence with labeling, recruit students to demonstrate emotions. Recruit other students to describe indicators of emotion.
Distinguish between examples and non-examples in modeling scenarios. After the instructor(s) model sufficient exemplars of emotion, guide students to describe specific indicators and non-indicators of emotion. Recruit students to demonstrate additional examples and non-examples as appropriate.
Your models might look like this:
- Closure activity – Provide drawing materials to the class. On Emotions Worksheet, students can draw what that emotion looks like to them. Their representations can be realistic or abstract.
Modifications relating to section above:
- Choose level 1, 2, or 3 Emotions Worksheet based on the abilities of your students.
- Based on the needs of your students, you may choose to only target Level 1 words from the Emotions Word Bank.
- Simplify or enhance emotion definition to meet language needs of your students. For example, on the color wheel, the definition of aggravated is, “To rouse to displeasure or anger by usually persistent and often petty goading.” You might change this to, “A feeling of growing anger.”
Extensions and Supplemental materials:
- Use the “Emotional Check-In / Out” worksheet as students enter and exit the classroom each day.
Choose the appropriate level (1-3) based on the needs of your students.
This worksheet can be used to:
1) Promote self-assessment 2) Support generalization 3) Promote group discussions / activities 4) Remediate periods of high anxiety or frustration in school setting.
- Use the “Here’s What You Need to Know About Me!” worksheet in the following ways:
- At the beginning of the school year.
- To share with IEP team at transition meetings.
- To facilitate conversations and reveal common interests between peers in the classroom.
- Engage students in Scenario to Emotion matching game using the “Scenario to Emotion” card sets. Remember that some scenarios may match more than one emotion!
These cards can be used in the following ways:
- In a receptive matching activity or Bingo game.
- In role-play scenarios where 1 student reads the scenario, while their partner or team guesses the corresponding emotion. As needed, use modeling and other cues to help students read the scenarios with appropriate tone, facial expressions, and gestures.
- In group discussions to promote perspective-taking skills:
When given a scenario, how might students’ emotional responses differ? Use the “What’s Your Take?” worksheet to target this skill. You may need to guide your students through the first few items for practice.
- Take it to the next level with the “You Create the Scenarios” worksheet. Have students develop and then role-play scenarios to promote generalization and enhance perspective-taking skills.
- Use the scenario and emotion cards to help students understand how verbal and non-verbal cues can change the entire meaning of a statement. Use the “Break it Down” worksheet for additional practice opportunities. You will also need the “Helpful Hints Cue Cards” to provide to your student actors.